Friday, March 16, 2012

Bloodhounds Track Elephant Poachers




All of a sudden the rangers have real teeth in terms of running down poachers.  Locating a recent downed elephant can not be difficult since the animals’ mates will be visibly distressed and any observers will quickly pick up on the signs.  Now they have a tool that allows hot pursuit without any fuss whatsoever.

An escaping poacher no longer has a creditable lead time at all.

I am reminded of military raiding doctrine applied in Northern France before the D Day landings.  A well planned mission would go into the target and make the attack which rarely lasted minutes and left any defenders either dead or seriously disorganized.  The team then took of away from the target on the run and ran for one hour normally along useable paths in the country.  This left them six miles away and in a fairly random direction from the target.  Any creditable response would need all of that hour to arrive on the scene and get it together to attempt a pursuit with no intel on the proper direction to follow.  Common sense tells us it can not be managed.

Blood hounds change that equation by providing certainty regarding the escape route itself.  A swift followup even hours later will catch up a laden group on foot.  In the case described, the poachers obviously felt no reason to exert themselves and were caught up close to the target.  It will not be that easy next time but the result will likely be similar unless they can get to a vehicle quickly enough.

Once poaching becomes nearly impossible it will end. This may turn out to be the best solution yet to this problem.


Bloodhounds deployed to fight elephant poaching in DR Congo

by Staff Writers

Kinshasa (AFP) March 12, 2012


The Democratic Republic of Congo's famed Virunga National Park has deployed bloodhounds to track down elephant poachers, a park official said Monday.

"The first operation of the specially-trained bloodhounds was launched after a succession of elephant-poaching incidents," LuAnne Cadd, the park's public relations officer, told AFP.

"The operation lasted two days and resulted in an armed contact between park rangers and suspected elephant poachers followed by the recovery of an illegal cache of weapons," she said.

Two bloodhounds tracked the poachers, following their scent over a distance of seven kilometres. There are a total of five bloodhounds deployed to fight poaching.

Cadd said 11 elephants were killed in 2011 in Virunga and three in January and February this year.

She said the European Union-backed canine project "will have a significant impact on the poaching problem in the park, particularly in protecting the vulnerable elephant population as demands for ivory increase worldwide."

The dogs were trained for about a year at a special facility in Switzerland.

The 7,800-square-kilometre (3,011-square-mile) park, created in 1925, is the oldest in Africa and was classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

It is home to about a third of the world's population of rare mountain gorillas and also has hippopotamuses and elephants.

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